We all want to be ‘selfie-ready‘ at all times, but looking glamorous all day everyday definitely comes at a cost.
The average British woman spends over £130,000 in her life on beauty products, and looking at my monthly outgoings often reads like the Selfridges Beauty Hall list of concessions, but fortunately having spent 3 years as a student at the London College of Fashion, and now being a savvy London shopper, I’ve picked up a few tricks on how to get your hands on free beauty products!
1. Try before you buy.
Especially with the pricier brands, it’s a good idea to give a product a proper test before you splurge on it. Especially with foundations, I like to try a 3 or 5 day sample which I can apply at home before parting with my cash. Most luxury beauty counters will offer you a mini skincare consultation to check your skin type and shade, and then give you little pots of foundation which you can try out for free. Newly launched products will often be promoted with little samples, so it’s always worth enquiring at the counter. New serums, moisturisers, foundations and sometimes even mascaras will come in little tiny pots or sachets which are perfect for popping in your handbag!
The Origins counter in John Lewis gives you the perfect opportunity to try out their best moisturisers and masks by offering sachets which you can pick and choose as you like – and they even offer you free mini facials!
2. Join in!
Lots of brands offer fun experiences both in store, and out of store and it’s worth joining beauty brand’s mailing lists to find out what they are organising. Benefit is a particularly good one – they recently hosted a Bold is Beautiful charity march through London where we raised money for two charities, and as well as having a super fun day and raising money for charity, we were all given a goody bag containing a makeup bag and some mini Benefit beauty samples. Also during May, Benefit offered free Gimme Brow brow serums to anyone who had a brow wax during the month, and a free Benefit shower cap and makeover to anyone approaching the staff in the Peter Jones store in Sloane Square during the Chelsea Flower Show. You can often find out about these sorts of things by following your favourite beauty brands on Twitter and Facebook, and I’ll always share anything like this that I hear about over on my Twitter too!
3. Blag the Mag
Especially as we approach Summer holiday season, the magazines all start to up their game when it comes to the free gifts that they give with the mag. Cosmo, Glamour, Red, they all have previously given away beauty products worth up to £40 with their Summer issues – so keep your eyes peeled for the next issues to blag the best products! If you live in London then you might know that Stylist often give away free beauty treats outside big stations. I work near Waterloo and just last week walked away with several packets of Simple face wipes which were being given out free with the magazine.
4. Free Gift With Purchase
Yes, Ok, so it isn’t technically free if you had to buy something, but recently there have been some seriously good deals when it comes to free gifts with purchase! Often available in store and online, brands are happy to giveaway beautiful makeup bags and minis and the odd full sized sample if you buy a couple of products, so if you need one or two things from a particular brand, it’s worth waiting until they do an offer like this.
Currently Elizabeth Arden are collaborating with Preen to give customers a beautiful makeup bag and products worth £88 when you buy two or more products either online or in Debenhams. Inside the bag, there’s a 50ml Prevage Treatment Boosting Cleanser, a mini Intensive Repair Daily Serum (the perfect size for holidays!), a Beautiful Color Lipstick in Rosy Shimmer, a Moisture Cream, Flawless Future Serum, Lift and Firm Moisture Cream AND Youth Restoring Serum! Free gifts with purchase don’t get much better than that!
5. Don’t hit Delete!
We all get those emails in our inbox that make us instantly want to hit the delete button, but often, the stores are actually offering a seriously sweet deal, or even a freebie. I have been making an effort to at least glance over store emails over the past few weeks, and have managed to blag loads of freebies (and almost freebies) as a result. Warehouse offered free in-store manicures, Topshop held free photography masterclasses in collaboration with Olympus (and there was lots of free beauty products and a money off voucher for the camera in the goody bag), and Michael Kors and Vanity Fair held a cinema screening at the Ham Yard hotel (and there was MK jewellery and beauty products in the goody bag). So don’t be too quick to delete the newsletters from your favourite stores – you might be pleasantly surprised what they’re offering!
My other tips would be to make the effort to pop along to in-store events as they often have discounts and/or goody bags (and often a glass of sparkly!), and events put on by magazines (like the Cosmo Fash Fest) and brands. Beauty brands want you to try out their products – in the hope that you’ll realise what a great moisturiser/foundation/mascara it is and end up being a loyal customer. After all, who else bought the Roller Lash mascara after getting hooked on the mini that came with Elle?!
What are your tips for blagging free beauty products?